ONLY ON CBS7: UTPB officer who helped take down Odessa mass shooter honored in Dallas

Published: Dec. 30, 2019 at 7:36 PM CST
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On Aug. 31, a lone gunman killed seven people in Odessa and injured dozens of others.

The First Responders Bowl Game in Dallas paid tribute to one officer who helped stop the bleeding.

At this bowl game, fans weren't just cheering on their favorite football teams.

They also gave it up for the men and women who keep them safe every day.

That includes one man who saved lives on one of the darkest days of Odessa's history.

When the mass shooter tried to finish off his rampage at the Cinergy movie theater, UTPB Police Lieutenant Bradley Standerfer ran toward him on foot.

He, along with other officers, fatally shot the gunman, finally bringing the hour-long shooting spree to an end.

“It was a hectic day definitely," Standerfer said. "Something we would never expect to have seen, especially that type of incident. The mobile mass shooter wasn’t something we’d been trained for, but I can tell you the Permian basin law enforcement as a whole and the first responders train for those types of incidents.”

That training also prepared him to send out the UTPB mass alert when shots first rang out, potentially saving students from unwittingly stepping into harm's way.

“When the time comes to show physical courage and bravery, they need to step up, and Lieutenant Standerfer did that," Director for the Institute of Law Enforcement Administration Gregory Smith said. "He did his profession proud that day.”

Standerfer and other officers were recognized for their actions during the game and presented with commemorative footballs as a small token of respect and appreciation for their service.

UT System of Police Assistant Director Ruben Puente, who nominated Standerfer to be at the game, commended the lieutenant for his bravery. He said officers like him don't hesitate for a second when danger comes barreling through their communities.

“It takes a very strong courage and effort on their part to act knowing that they’re placing their lives in danger, but that’s inconsequential," UT Police Systems Police Assistant Director Ruben Puente said. "They’re going to do what it takes to do to make sure they’re community’s safe.”

Although Standerfer said he's honored to stand among so many admirable officers, he thinks he shouldn't be the only one.

“Every first responder from the Odessa-Midland that responded to that situation should probably be there," Standerfer said. "I’m just very thankful to ILEA for putting this event on and for the assistant director for nominating me for this position, and it’s just good to work for great leaders in the Permian Basin.”

First responders CBS7 spoke to said it means the world to them to know residents appreciate their work, whether that's a football game ceremony or a simple "Thank you for your service."